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Bumper Crop
Posted by Erik Siegrist at 11/15/2006 2:25:00 PM
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As if anyone needed another indication of how good the Marlins' rookies were this season, they set a modern MLB record by having six different first-year players receive Rookie of the Year votes. (The current 5-3-1 voting system was put in place in 1980).

Hanley Ramirez won the award, of course, barely edging out the Nats' Ryan Zimmerman, but Rule 5 player Dan Uggla finished third (and received six first-place votes of his own) while Josh Johnson finished fourth (and got two first-place votes) and Scott Olsen, Anibal Sanchez and Josh Willingham each picked up a single third-place vote.

And how about the NL rookie crop in general? Zimmerman hits in the middle of the order, picks up over 100 RBI and plays Gold Glove defense and doesn't win. Matt Cain records 13 victories with a 4.15 ERA and strikes out 179 batters in 190.2 innings, and doesn't get a single first place vote. Prince Fielder is an after-thought here, getting just two third-place votes. The Dodgers had three guys (Andre Ethier, Russell Martin and Takashi Saito) on the list themselves, any one of whom put up numbers that could have won them the award against a weaker field (compare the numbers of everyone listed here, for instance, to Bobby Crosby's 2004 RoY-winning season).

RoY voting isn't the most reliable predictor of future stardom. Talent waxes and wanes. For instance, among the players Willis beat out were Brandon Webb, Miguel Cabrera and Jose Reyes, while Jennings' class, which ran nine players deep, has produced exactly one All-Star in five seasons (Mark Prior in 2003). But even with that caveat, it's hard not to get excited about this year's group, or get images of the 2009 NL All-Star lineup featuring a 2006 RoY alum starting infield out of your head...


Pirates rookie catcher Ronny Paulino hit .310 in 442 at-bats and didn't get a sniff...
Posted by jtopper at 11/15/2006 6:32:00 PM
Hum, how does that Beckett trade look now Red Sox fans?
Posted by schoenke at 11/15/2006 6:38:00 PM
Dan Uggla - do we think he's for real or not? There was a mixed opinion about him on the panel that I was on in Arizona, at the AFL Fantasy Symposium.
Posted by Erickson at 11/15/2006 7:11:00 PM
Dan Uggla - Jeff Kent, Rich Aurilia, or Mark Bellhorn? I love the question, loved the guy for fantasy last year, and am a big fan. For my money hes not Jeff Kent, and will have good and bad years like the two latter names mentioned. In those cases theyre guys that got a lot out of work ethic and marginal pro athletic skill. I think that will carry him into a career and hes not just a rookie fluke. No need to link him to Angel Berroa, but Id limit expectations for 2007. Can anyone say they accurately project Aurilia year to year?
Posted by arwen at 11/16/2006 5:58:00 AM
It's pretty easy to say that an "out of nowhere" rookie isn't as good as a Hall-of-Fame second baseman like Jeff Kent, but I think Uggla is for real. He may not hit 27 bombs a year, but I can see him being a solid .280 hitter with 20 homers and a solid OBP each year.
Posted by vtadave at 11/16/2006 9:12:00 AM
Aurilia - I thought he was another Brady Anderson (one way out of line power spike year raising suspicions), but the last two years sort of have made me change my mind, even though I'm still not terribly enamored of him.
Posted by Erickson at 11/16/2006 10:26:00 AM
VtaDave - "a solid .280 hitter with 20 homers and a solid OBP each year." That is almost Kent, who has averaged .289 with a .356 OBP and 24.5 home runs through 14 years. And Kent himself was a bit out of nowhere drafted by the Jays in the 20th round of '89. Kent's home run total will get him there but his claim to the Hall Of Fame has been consistency and health relative to the position, having not been under 400 at-bats since his rookie season.
Posted by arwen at 11/16/2006 10:48:00 AM

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